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Feb. 7, 2020: A State Bank Update

February 7th, 2020|

Creating a public bank of, by and for the people of Washington state has been my #1 priority issue for some time now. It is a public finance game changer proposal that will:

  1. Generate new revenue for the state without raising taxes.
  2. Drastically increase public financing capacity for public infrastructure while lowering costs.
  3. Keeps our tax dollars here in Washington State working for us instead of working to make more profits for Wall Street.

Legislative update on public banking:

Since the banking caused recession in 2009 I’ve worked to educate my fellow colleagues, and all Washingtonians (and around the US) about the power of the people owning our own bank and how we can use it to build Washington—and our public banking movement is growing!!  Proponents in areas all across the state — from Eastern to Western Washington, urban to rural — are actively working to educate, agitate, organize and mobilize for a public bank.

In 2018, the Legislature approved a budget proviso to contract the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington to develop a business plan for a public bank in Washington. That business plan was due in June 2019 but has yet to be completed. Many of us in the Legislature have been working to correct this.

Meanwhile, we will continue building the movement for a public bank.  My current iteration is Senate Bill 5995. Many statewide organizations have adopted platform planks to support the public bank.  SB 5995 is modeled after the Bank of North Dakota, which is the only other publicly owned bank in the US.  While the rest of the world uses public banking as their financing foundation, we in the US have relied on commercial banking instead.  We need to find a better way.

Background Information:

  • What is public banking and SB 5995?  Learn more Link.
  • Or watch the public hearing on SB 5995 last week Link.
  • Public Banking Institute  Link
  • Learn more Link.

Recent victories nation-wide:

  • California passes public banking bill.  Link
  • New Jersey moving forward with public banking.  Link
  • In it’s 100th year, the Bank of North Dakota posted its 15th consecutive year of record profits for the people of North Dakota with an amazing 18% ROI (see BND’s 2018 Annual Report).  Link
  • San Francisco  Link
  • Los Angeles  Link
  • New York  Link

Sen. Bob Hasegawa’s Legislative Update: Jan. 21, 2020

January 21st, 2020|

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    Applications are open for the Washington World Fellows program!

Applications are open for the Washington World Fellows program!

December 4th, 2019|

Applications are now open for Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib’s Washington World Fellows program — a global leadership and college-readiness fellowship aimed at fostering the next generation of leaders in Washington state!

The program is designed to provide deserving 10th grade students the opportunity to broaden their horizons through meaningful academic and cultural experiences as well as interaction with local, national, and international governments. The goal of the program is to empower fellows to overcome barriers to college, as well as to develop the skills to become thoughtful future leaders.

Fellows will participate in a six-week study abroad in León, Spain, where they will earn 5 college credits and live in an immersive environment with local homestay families. Following the trip, students will participate in two years of rigorous college preparation programming. The entire program is offered at no cost to students or their families.

To be eligible for the program, students must be in Spanish I or above and be nominated by their teachers or counselors. Applications will be open from December 2nd 2019 to January 13th 2020 — so submit your nominations soon!

To learn more about the program, please click here. If you have any further questions, please contact the Lt. Governor’s office at waworldfellows@gmail.com or (360) 786-7700.

We encourage you to inform students from your district about this opportunity, and, if you would like, we have draft language that you can post on your social media platforms to promote the opportunity to your constituents.

2019 Legislative Session Wrap-up and Update

August 2nd, 2019|

The 2019 legislative session was intense and to the surprise of everyone, we finished ON TIME! We were very far from agreement on many key issues, even up to the final day. But deadlines have a tendency to move folks, and we managed to pass a balanced budget that invests in early childhood to post-secondary education, the environment, behavioral health, and job creation. Plus, we settled on a windfall profits tax on the largest Wall Street banks. This bill was derived from my past bills regarding a windfall profits tax on big oil and pharmaceutical companies. I’m proud that we finally moved forward on reforming our regressive tax system by requiring some of the wealthiest institutions to pay their fair share of taxes.
However, there is still so much more to be done. In the coming months, I’ll be sharing stories with you on this year’s legislative successes and issues to work on in 2020 that will make a difference in our lives.

Washington’s Public Bank Update
This year saw a considerable leap in progress. In 2018, Washington state contracted UW’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance to develop a business plan for a publicly-owned depository bank. A public bank will keep our tax dollars from going straight into the hands of Wall Street bankers. They’ll present their proposed plan to the state Legislature and the governor this fall. We hope to have the business plan vetted and drafted into a bill for the 2020 legislative session. We are also making inroads for grassroots-led movement building for this issue. If you’d like to know more, check out my website.

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorHasegawa/videos/498928330921625/

I appreciate all your ongoing feedback. I’m launching a new communications strategy that will include regular video updates. Please keep the input coming!
As always, I will continue to fight for working families, comprehensive progressive tax reform, equity of opportunity, and economic and social justice for our communities and our state. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
If you’d like to meet, I’d like that too. Reach out to my legislative assistant Jenny Chang at Jenny.Chang@leg.wa.gov.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

In Solidarity,

Bob

Sen. Hasegawa’s Legislative Update – 3/16

March 19th, 2019|

Sen. Hasegawa’s Legislative Update – 2/14

February 19th, 2019|

Sen. Hasegawa’s Legislative Update – 1/17/19

January 21st, 2019|

Washington State Bank Model Resolution

August 16th, 2018|

Here is a model resolution for your organization to use as a draft to sign-on to or adopt in support of a state bank owned by and for the people of Washington state.

WHEREAS, the taxpayers of Washington state have demanded greater accountability and wiser use of the taxes they pay to benefit Washingtonians, not Wall Street; and

WHEREAS, a public depository owned by and for the people of Washington State would meet those demands by using taxpayer dollars to invest in infrastructure, student loans, create jobs, increase access to capital for small businesses by supporting local community banks, absorb debt capacity, generate revenue without raising taxes, avert long term debt payments and fees to Wall Street, and keep taxpayers’ dollars in Washington state, working for Washington state; and

WHEREAS, Senate Bill 5995 – Creating the Washington Investment Trust (2019) would streamline and create efficiencies of the State’s numerous existing revolving loan programs and leverage their capacity to work for the people of Washington state while lowering overhead and exercising efficiencies of scale, paying it’s own operating costs, and returning profits back to the state; and

WHEREAS, recent Washington state legislative sessions have exposed a serious lack of resource and bonding capacity to deal with the state’s overwhelming capital needs, which in 2018 led to a budget proviso requiring the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance to develop a business plan for a publicly owned
cooperative depository bank that allows political subdivisions to participate in; and

WHEREAS, a state bank can grow in capacity to be an unparalleled resource for future generations of Washingtonians; and

WHEREAS, a successful model of public banking is the Bank of North Dakota, which was first established in 1919 and is controlled by the people of North Dakota for the benefit of the people and economy of North Dakota; and

WHEREAS, public banking is a bedrock of social and economic development in most high achieving global economies like Germany, Japan, Brazil, Russia, India and China; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that (name of your organization) endorses creation of a publicly owned depository State Bank, which shall be governed by an independent public Commission that is accountable and transparent to the people; and, be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the governor, House and Senate leadership, and other civic minded stakeholders for further dissemination to, and education of, the general public.

Sen. Hasegawa’s Sine Die Update (2018)

March 21st, 2018|

Senate passes Hasegawa bill to avoid institutional racism

February 12th, 2018|

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Feb. 10, 2018

 

Senate passes Hasegawa bill to avoid institutional racism

 

OLYMPIA — Future legislative proposals will be assessed for disproportionate or unintended impacts on racial and ethnic populations, under legislation passed today by the Senate.

“Passing this bill is an important step towards understanding if institutional racism is embedded in proposed bills before we vote on them,“ said Sen. Bob Hasegawa, D-Beacon Hill and the sponsor of SB 5588. “I have been working on addressing racial disparities for quite some time, and passing this bill off the floor is great news for people of color across Washington.”

SB 5588 would require racial and ethnic impact statements to provide statistical analysis of the effects of proposed legislation on racial or ethnic populations. The legislation focuses on laws with felony implications, but Hasegawa hopes to later expand the scope to include higher education, human services, government contracting, and other areas that often see racial disparities.

“Conversations about race and racial disparities are tough to have but are extremely necessary. We talk a great deal about addressing racial disproportionality at the Legislature, and yet we often have no understanding of how new policies may specifically impact communities of color,” Hasegawa said. “It is incumbent that those with power and privilege understand the needs of communities often left out of the legislative process. The fact that this bill was passed almost unanimously by both Democrats and Republicans shows real progress.”

 

The bill passed will only one member voting ‘no,’ it now moved to the House for further consideration.

 

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For information: Bre Weider, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7326